Future-proofing the London insurance market

RSA Group


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Customer-centred innovation critical to fend off the challenge from burgeoning insurance markets and alternative forms of protection

The London insurance market must rethink its product-first mentality and move more quickly towards developing tailored risk management and mitigation solutions for customers, if it is to demonstrate London’s edge in an increasingly competitive world.

At a discussion into the future of the London market hosted by RSA, senior executives from leading brokerages said London remains well-placed to respond to the changing needs of customers who are crying out for a more comprehensive approach to risk than is currently widely on offer.

Insurable risks have altered immeasurably in recent years, primarily due to technological developments, and the whole insurance industry has to get to grips with the evolving customer needs and changing nature of exposed risks. Innovation — a strength of the London market — could be more strategically channelled towards initiatives that directly benefit customers.

Furthermore, London’s reputation as a people-based market continues to flourish despite technology enabling slicker distribution channels. This approach to business ought to be enhanced through training and recognition that skills in relationship-building, as well as technical acumen, are required to build a well-rounded workforce equipped to grapple with customers’ changing needs.

Refining its strengths is more important than ever for London, which faces stiff competition from other global insurance hubs and the growing number of countries that want to retain risk in their own burgeoning insurance markets.



The discussion and outcomes of the London Market Broker Round Table, hosted by RSA

Highlights of the discussion included:

  • Offering insurance products is not enough in today’s market; the insurance industry needs to better meet the needs of customers by offering comprehensive risk management and mitigation solutions.
  • Insurance itself is not seen as the strategic tool it once was to protect against emerging risks in this era of new technology.
  • The London market needs to build a wider skills base to underpin this shift towards a more rounded and innovative approach to risk
  • Efficient systems combined with people that understand how to build relationships are key to providing high-quality service to global customers
  • A shared view that insurance probably covers ‘less than 10%’ of the risk that a large and complex business currently faces
  • Regulatory requirements and the ease by which new product ideas can be copied has made London market players more wary of how much resource they spend on developing new ideas
  • Insurers and brokers need new solutions to new risks or clients will find a different way to protect their assets
  • Reinsurance has a more strategic portfolio approach in general and offers insight into how a more holistic risk approach could be developed in the primary wholesale market.

Stephen Hester, RSA Global CEO, said:

“As technology develops, location becomes less relevant and proximity to the client in many circumstances is less relevant. People work remotely more than ever before and, similarly, clients need 24-hour access regardless of an organisation’s location.
“Therefore, to remain successful, the London insurance market (LIM) needs to understand and be able to predict the jobs of the future and support the development of those jobs as well as the infrastructure to make it happen. I believe the LIM has time to find its voice although the industry and the people working in it should not be complacent.”

Chris Beazley, London Market Group CEO, said:

The LIM has access to a wealth of financial capital and continues to lead the market for specialist lines such as marine, energy and aviation, which have all witnessed increases in the amount of business placed via London in the last three years. One of the key strengths of the LIM is its ability and capacity to innovate.
“Employing 52,000 people, the LIM has an unprecedented wealth of knowledge and human capital, as well as access to financial capital. However, there is a question as to whether or not that talent is being deployed in the best way possible to meet the changing needs of the client.
“[The] London insurance market needs to evolve to meet the needs of clients and offer something unique or better than anywhere else if it is to remain market leader.”

Hayley Robinson, managing director, Global Risk Solutions, RSA, said:

“London’s wholesale insurance market is at the heart of GRS’s growth opportunities. It is in the interests of all the insurers, underwriters and brokers within this market to develop the skills and the systems that will ensure customers recognise the value of our technical and service propositions. This might mean working, rather than always competing, with local markets but ensuring the specific strengths of London are retained and recognised.”

RSA London market round table delegates:

  • Richard Dudley, CEO Global Broking Centre, Aon Risk Solutions
  • Paul Galvin, Head of Carrier Solutions, Aon Inpoint
  • Guy Malyon, Deputy Chief Broking Officer, Aon Risk Solutions
  • Michelle Mason, Managing Director, Aon Risk Solutions Global
  • Sarah Horler, Partner, Lockton
  • Steve Dando, Senior Vice President, Head of Specialty, Portfolio Solutions, Marsh
  • Ailsa King, Chief Client Officer, Marsh
  • David Ripton, CEO Marine, UK Practice, Marsh
  • Barnaby Rugge-Price, CEO, RKH Specialty
  • David Cross, Head of Large Client GB, Willis Towers Watson
  • Alistair Swift, Head of CRB & Head of Transportation Lines, Willis Towers Watson
  • Nick Donovan, Head of Sales & Customer Management, RSA
  • Hayley Robinson, Managing Director, Global Risk Solutions, RSA
  • Neil Strickland, Global Consulting, Director, RSA
  • Owen Thomas, Sales and Distribution, Director, RSA
  • Stephen Hester, RSA Group CEO (Keynote)
  • Mike Harmer, FWD Consulting (Chair).

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